FAZ Didnt Pay Us…Mweene, Master Kalaba Speak Out

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Rainford Kalaba

AFRICA Cup winning players have sharply reacted to claims by former FAZ president Boniface Mwamelo that they were paid from the AfCON prize money challenging him to produce evidence of bank transfers to each player’s account since they received none.

On the 10th anniversary marked on February 12 since Zambia famously beat a start-studded Didier Drogba led Cote d’Ivoire side 8-7 on penalties to lift the trophy for the first time in the country’s history, captain of the that triumphant side Christopher Katongo revealed that team members were never paid anything from the prize money by the previous FAZ executive which has evoked a lot of debate among stakeholders.

But Mwamelo, who was vice-president then, in a recent interview rebutted Katongo’s claims saying players were paid even though he could not remember how much it was which the aggrieved players vehemently deny.

“The players were paid, the prize money came after we had comeback. So what we did was we got their bank details, the money from the prize
money was given [to the players] via bank transfers” Mwamelo added: “They got the money, that I am confirming. It is only that these guys at FAZ they have got the records but you know it has been 10 years so I can’t say off the how much it was but they got the money.”

But goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who plays for African giants Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, called this reporter yesterday and gave an unsolicited interview where he challenged Mwamelo to produce proof of payment and wondered how a whole vice-president can fail to tell how much they paid players but still claim that they were paid.

Mweene reiterated Katongo’s statement that the only money players received during the AfCON were winning bonuses and daily allowances
from the government and nothing from the prize money as Mwamelo claimed.

He also said it was an insult for anyone to suggest that the former players were being pushed by people with an agenda saying they were
old enough to be conned by anyone.

“The only money we got is winning bonuses and daily allowances straight from government and this money was being paid cash by the
government accountant, and we were signing. The record is there. We did not receive anything from FAZ,” Mweene said with emphasis.

“And they should not make us look like we are broke. We are suffering that is why we are talking about this. Some of us are still playing football, most of our colleagues are now coaches – they are working. We just want to set the record straight that we did not
receive any money from FAZ. And it is an insult to suggest that we are being pushed. That we have an agenda, being pushed by who? We wanted
to know and we still want to know which player received money from FAZ. We are old enough. We have a group as players, we have discussed
this. No one can push us. Banks keep records. Let them go to the bank and get a print out to show which player got the prize money from
FAZ.”

He challenged Mwamelo to tell people the truth saying he was holding a senior position not know the truth.

Kalusha Bwalya

“We can expose our bank details. We received daily allowances and winning bonuses from government yes. It’s disrespectful for him to say we have been paid when we received nothing. He says he doesn’t know the amounts, how can a vice-president of the association not know? Since he spoke publicly that were paid, let him produce the bank details. How can he fail to know the amounts but he says he paid us?” wondered Mweene.

The multiple club and country champion refused to talk about pledges that were made to the team saying it was up to companies that pledged
to confirm if they fulfilled their pledges to FAZ or not.

And Congolese based Rainford Kalaba when contacted disclosed that the only money the players received upon their return to Zambia was the remaining winning bonus from the Cote d’Ivoire game which was paid to them by a government accountant at Pamodzi Hotel after the trophy parade ceremony in the showgrounds.

Kennedy Mweene
Kennedy Mweene

“The only money we got I remember pa Pamodzi ni winning bonus iyaba Ivory Coast that’s all. Let him produce evidence of who got rewarded from the prize money. We can’t just wake up today
and start talking about this. We have been quiet for 10 years just because of the respect we have for the government thinking promises will be fulfilled but then we said okay this 10th anniversary let’s remind these people. What have we gained? It’s lack of respect to say we have been paid when we haven’t,” he said.

“Don’t just talk, produce evidence that you paid us. Government yes paid us bonuses and allowances. That’s the only thing we benefited and people used to build houses not the prize money. So if government didn’t pay, we could have come out of the tournament with nothing. Tekulandafye (don’t just speak) give the media proof.”

Kalaba also suggested that the current national team was not doing well because spiritually people [former players] harboured complaints
in their hearts about unfulfilled promises.

“We must be together in spirit that our team must win not where others are not happy,” he said adding that Zambia was for every Zambian.

“…you promise a child that I will buy you a car when you pass but 10 years goes and a child is not reminding you. You have to get worried
as a parent,” Kalaba said.
He also said the pledge by former local government minister Nkandu Luo to give them houses for their triumph had not been fulfilled to date.

Isaac Chansa, who is now coach at City of Lusaka, declined to talk about the issue because he and colleagues were still discussing the next
collective action.

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